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A hole in the ground that's somehow covered up so as to blend in with the surrounding terrain. Sometimes it's hidden beneath a Trap Door. Related to but not to be confused with Bottomless Pit. If it's not hidden, it's not a pit trap.

A standard subversion is where character A sets up a pitfall for character B, B walks straight over the covered pit and doesn't fall in, and then character A tries to cross (possibly preceded by tentative testing first) and does fall in, Wile E. Coyote-style.

Platform Hell titles will have these, usually with no indication at all that it's a trap.

Oftentimes it is a Conspicuously Light Patch.

Examples of Pit Trap include:

Anime And Manga

  • A spike-filled one is one of the traps found in the grounds of the Iga ninja dogs in Ginga: Nagareboshi Gin. It is used by Hayato to kill one of the Koga dogs as well as himself, as he literally took the enemy with him.
  • Team Rocket in the Pokémon anime often uses these. They often mess up a la the standard subversion.
    • They were very effective in the episode "The Stolen Stones".
    • Used against "the twerps" in the episode "Here's Looking At You".
    • One is used in an attempt to capture a Rhydon in "Right on, Rhydon!" It captures Jessie's Wobuffet instead.
  • In an episode of Higurashi no Naku Koro ni Kai, Satoko sets these. Rika falls down one, though Satoko was, if I remember correctly, trying to trap Keiichi.
  • Used and lampshade-hung in the anime of Ranma ½, in the episode that introduces Gosunkugi.
  • In the Kyoto Arc of Mahou Sensei Negima, the Big Bad sets one up that's filled with frogs in a temple that Negi's class visits. Makie and Ayaka fall into it.
  • Used to no effect (unless you count it working on Natsu, Gray, and Erza) by Lucy in Fairy Tail.
  • In Excel Saga, Il Palazzo has a Pit Trap under the Trap Door in his underground headquarters. Excel falls into it almost every time she sees Il Palazzo, and is aware of its existence, so it's not really a trap.
  • The Touhou manga, Inaba of the Moon and Inaba of the Earth has this as Tewi's most common prank, with Reisen being the traps' most common victim. One of it actually managed to knock out the infamously powerful Yorihime.


  • Seen as a plot twist in the comedy film 'The Three Amigos'. It took out three mooks.
  • In Disney's Swiss Family Robinson Francis builds one of these and successfully catches a tiger.
  • One forms a central part of the rather dark plot of Onibaba.


  • Used straight in The Most Dangerous Game.
  • In the Kate Daniels book Magic Strikes, Kate arranges a blanket and pillow over a sunken cage to look like a makeshift bed. She then kicks a shapeshifter into the cage and slams it shut.

Tabletop RPG

Video Games

  • Available as an item in Animal Crossing. Said item is also in Super Smash Bros Brawl and is actually called the pitfall.
  • One level in Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards has numerous pitfalls scattered across its first stretches. Some of them contain helpful items, but some contain nasty spikes. The trick is to trigger them and then jump very quickly.
  • Nethack has them. Some of them contain spikes. And if those spikes are poisoned, it's a potential instadeath if you're not poison resistant.
  • One of Pitfall's trademarks.
  • At one point in Infocom's Leather Goddesses of Phobos, the player can construct one of these to stop a giant mobile Venus Flytrap.
  • The Metal Gear series is full of these. They are apparently programmed so that only Snake can trigger them. And the enemies can even walk over them when they're open.
  • Space Quest II has a partially concealed pit trap death early in the game.
  • Discussed in Persona 3. This is what Elizabeth thinks a manhole is intended to be.

 Elizabeth: A clever snare. It goes against the common notion that a pitfall must be hidden. Signs placed all around boldy proclaim "Do Not Enter." Humans frequently desire that which is forbidden to them.

  • Some Super Mario World hacks do this, especially with reverse P-switches (coins are safe to walk on).

Western Animation

  • In Stop! Look! And Hasten! Wile. E. Coyote tries to capture the Roadrunner with one of these, which he makes from a book titled "How To Build A Burmese Tiger Trap." What he captures instead is a Burmese tiger (Surprisibus surprisibus).
  • In another Looney Tunes example, Daffy makes a pit under his welcome mat leading to a tank full of crocodiles for the Delivery Stork. The stork (who is a little tipsy) sidesteps the mat, and an exasperated Daffy drags him back outside and falls into the pit himself.
  • At the end of The Lion King 1 1/2, Timon and Pumbaa actually defeat the hyenas by luring them all into a large pit they dug while Simba is still fighting Scar.
  • In the Superman cartoon "Showdown", a mob tricks Superman into a Pit Trap through a Trap Door made of reinforced steel. The mobster and his henchman then place a heavy desk over the Trap Door. This... mildly inconviences Superman.
  • Percival McLeach actually does this to Cody at the very beginning of The Rescuers Down Under in order to force him to give up the eagle Marahute.